Written by a leading commentator on the culture of crime and criminality, this is a hard-hitting and disturbing insight into the activities and attitudes of professional criminals.
The book is based upon interviews with generations of criminals whose activities range from violence, intimidation, and protection rackets through to drug dealing and car theft.
Professional criminals talk in graphic detail about their violent methods and their often ruthless attitudes to those who stand in their way.
Their stories show a picture of a community where criminals have an elevated status, where violence is seen as a way of life, and prison is an occupational hazard - not a deterrent.
The author spent three years at street level talking to the people whose stories appear in this book, and he presents us with a picture of a world beyond the usual glamorous, media friendly images of the gangster: a place where it is a struggle to thrive in a dangerous and highly competitive environment.